Friday, May 27, 2016

2015-2016 NBA All-Blue Collar Team

NBA blue collar players
Hard work pays off.

The NBA is a league of stars. Without the mesmerizing skills of Stephen Curry, the all-world talent of LeBron James or the alien athleticism of Russell Westbrook, it wouldn't be half as fun to watch teams go at it. Star players make highlight plays. They are selected All-Stars. They rake in the big cash and are marketed globally.


But they can't do it alone, although sometimes not for a lack of trying. Stars need worker ants around them. They need blue-collar players to do the dirty work and allow them to thrive. I came up with the All-Blue Collar Team concept  to give these NBA worker ants some well-deserved recognition. Last year already marked the third edition.


The parameters for eligibility?
  1. The player has never made an All-Star team.
  2. The player has played in at least 50% of the season's games.
  3. The player was not in his team's top-3 for MPG.
What being a "blue-collar player" is all about?
"A blue collar player is a dependable role player who outworks the players around him, squeezing a ton out of his average talent to help his team win."
Without further ado, I present to you the 2015-2016 NBA All-Blue Collar Teams:

2015-2016 All-Blue Collar First Team

Dennis Schröder, G, Atlanta Hawks - The German Rondo is a pesky little guy who has cemented himself as a building block in Atlanta. He performs consistenly as the first guy of the bench, using his many talents and hustle to make a difference.

Evan Turner, G, Boston Celtics - It's not hard to see why Celtics fan love Turner. The do-it-all former No. 2 overall pick willingly comes off the bench to contribute in any way he can. He can score on a flashy move, dish out assists and rebound. When Jae Crowder went down, Turner was called upon to help keep the ship afloat.

Taj Gibson, F, Chicago Bulls - Mobile bigs like Taj Gibson don't come around very often. In what turned out to be a disastrous season for the Bulls, he delivered yet again, averaging 8.6 PPG and 6.9 RPG in just over 26 minutes per game.

Festus Ezeli, F, Golden State Warriors - Golden State's team is filled with blue-collar players, but Ezeli gets the nod here. The Nigerian big man rebounded and blocked like a madman for the sharpshooting Warriors, allowing the team's shooters to focus on what they do best.

Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat - This guy didn't even make a million dollar this season. Whiteside's contract is bargain for what he brought to the table: monster rebounding and shot-blocking, and timely put-back dunks.

2015-2016 All-Blue Collar Second Team

Alan Crabbe, G, Portland Trailblazers - Damian Lillard is Portland's clear-cut alpha dog. But of course he wasn't alone in turning it around for the Blazers. Crabbe's dynamic scoring and quality shooting played a factor, too. 

C.J. Miles, G, Indiana Pacers - He didn't necessarily have a defined position with the Pacers, but that didn't bother Miles, whose willingness to be versatile and to all the little things earn him the nod here.

Marvin Williams, F, Charlotte Hornets - Williams has never been a flashy player and he probably never will be. He did, however, improve his shot, allowing him to be an effective option for his team. 

Darrell Arthur, F, Denver Nuggets - Forward Darrell Arthur played some solid basketball this past year. He rebounded well and appeared to have found his shot. His communication on defense has been welcome for the Nugs, too.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors - I could have gone with Enes Kanter or Clint Capela here, but I feel that Valanciunas slightly beat these guys this year. The Lithuanian big man was amazing for the Raps this year, posting career-highs across the board.

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